For Alistair Brownlee the Olympics were a sure thing – until injury threw a spanner in the works.

Alistair Brownlee back on top form after his achilles injury set-back. (Triathlon.org | Janos Schmidt / ITU)

Now back as firm favourite for Olympic Gold, it wasn’t long ago that Alistair Brownlee’s Olympic bid looked in doubt. Back in February a tear to his Achilles led to a serious set back in his training, and his race to recover in time for the London 2012 Olympic Games began.

Many were worried about his return to competition in time for the Olympics, but his physiotherapist, Emma Deakin was confident he would be back on top form. “Whilst there’s no time to waste in getting Alistair back to full fitness, thankfully his injury has not come at the worst time possible. This is mainly due to him having the best winter’s training he’s ever had, after which he would have been having a bit of a break anyway. Instead, he is now working on a rehab programme,” she told the BBC.

This combination of a full and consistent winter of training and a team of experts providing world-class support, meant his chances of recovery and being fully fit in time for the Olympic games were promising.

In the early stages of his recovery it was important to prevent further injury by minimising stress to the damaged tissue. As a precaution rather than a sign of seriousness Alistair initially wore a protective boot, but he was keen start his return to running “If I can get this boot off quite quickly and get training, I can get myself fit in time for the Olympics,” he said at the time.

Working with Deakin and a strong team of experts, Alistair slowly started running. He began using an underwater treadmill where he was able to run without the risk of loading his Achilles. As he grew stronger, the depth of the water could be gradually decreased to slowly increase the loading. The management of Brownlee’s injury meant that no break in his training was needed and there was the possibility that he would come back stronger. “Last time he fought back from injury he had improved his running technique, so who knows what he’ll achieve this time around!” said Deakin.

With Alistair focusing on his rehab, his younger brother Jonny Brownlee began dominating the ITU World Cup Series taking wins in San Diego and Madrid, getting his season off to an excellent start. After Madrid, British Triathlon Olympic performance manager Malcolm Brown said, “It was an outstanding performance from Jonny. He has moved forwards since San Diego just two weeks ago.”

On Alistair’s return to competition, he took joint first place with his brother Jonathan Brownlee in the elite race at the Blenheim Triathlon, but how he would fair against the best in the world was still unknown. In ITU WTS Kitzbuhel, it was clear that Alistair had not only recovered but had returned to his championship-winning form. Looking fresh and completely injury free, Alistair piled on the pressure during the run to finish ahead of his brother with a sub-30-minute-run.  Speaking after the race, Alistair said, “It’s nice to be back on the podium and it’s fantastic we got a one-two. That’s what we always aim to get and it’s a special day.” Also putting in an incredible performance, Jonny Brownlee said, ” It was kind of a practice Olympics really, so to have everyone there and still come second is great.”

With both brothers on top form and fully prepared for the London Olympic Triathlon, we look forward to supporting them to a spot on the podium.

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